The San Francisco 49ers claimed linebacker Tom Cousineau on waivers Wednesday, one day after he was waived by Cleveland.
The 49ers also said they are close to signing nose tackle Pete Kugler, who left them three years ago to play in the United States Football League.
Cousineau, 29, was a starting inside linebacker for the Browns the last four years. He was acquired by Cleveland in a trade with Buffalo in 1982 after a three-year stay in the Canadian Football League.
Cousineau was the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick by Buffalo in 1979, but the Bills were unable to sign him, and Cousineau jumped to Canada.
“We were the only team to claim Tom,” 49er Coach Bill Walsh said. “I think a lot of teams were waiting until he opted for free agency. We talked to his agent before the 1 p.m. deadline and wanted to get an agreement worked out quickly. We didn’t wait until he became a free agent because we did not want to get into a bidding war.”